Discover another crucial step in overcoming the issue of envy

Tuesday, December 4, 2012, Part 2

“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:4).

IDEA: Increased gifts mean increased stewardship.

PURPOSE: To help listeners weigh the gifts and positions of others on a different scale.

Have you ever heard anyone talk about an “evil eye”?

In folklore, it is a supposed power bestowed on a person so that his glance brings sickness, bad luck, or death to his victim (Larousse dictionary).

The word translated “envious” in some places in the Bible is the Greek term that literally means “evil eye.”

We can translate the Greek as envy because that word comes from the Latin words that mean “to look against.” Envy is just that: we “look against” someone who in some area is a notch or two above us. We don’t actually have the power to wish that person sickness or bad luck or death, but we do not wish that person well; we may actually wish him or her harm. We look at him or her with an evil eye.

I. To deal with envy in our hearts, we must take positive steps to change the way we think.

In a previous conversation we discovered the first two steps in dealing with envy:

We recognize the futility of envy: we get nothing from it, and it makes us miserable.

We accept God’s evaluation of what is best for each of us.

Perspective can help us deal with envy (long-range view), using God’s power.

The third step in dealing with envy is to recognize that the more someone else has in gifts or position, the more that person will have to answer for to God.

It is a serious thing to be in a prominent place.

Jesus said, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:45).

Before envying those who are above us, count the cost carefully.

You can’t pick and choose which parts of another person’s life you wish were yours; you have to consider the whole package.

Perhaps the person you envy for his or her position of power may carry a very heavy burden for the use of that power.

Or perhaps that person struggles with time constraints that make family life very difficult and relationships difficult to maintain.

Sometimes people pay a high price for the gifts or positions they’ve been given.

II. So the fourth step in dealing with envy is to remember that increased gifts mean increased responsibility.

It is a serious thing to be in a position of prominence: it carries moral and spiritual responsibilities that few are willing to fulfill.

Before envying those who are above you, count the cost carefully. You may find that, rather than looking with an evil eye, you want to look at that person with a prayerful eye.